The Chicago Bulls have an opportunity Saturday night at home to help the Utah Jazz enter a group that they just joined on Thursday.
NBA teams with at least one loss.
Before Thursday’s slate of games, Chicago, Utah and the Golden State Warriors were the only three teams that had yet to take a loss early in the 2021-22 season. The Jazz remained in that exclusive club, routing the Houston Rockets 122-91, but the Bills and Warriors both took losses in their games against the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively.
Utah has its work cut out for it in order to stay unbeaten for much longer.
After Saturday’s game at Chicago, the Jazz travel to Milwaukee for the second half of a back-to-back against the defending champion Bucks on Halloween Night. Following a home game two nights later against the Sacramento Kings, the Jazz have three road games in four nights at Atlanta, Miami and Orlando.
Getting a team effort as they had in the blowout win at Houston will only help the Jazz’s chances. Sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic led seven Utah players in double figures with 19 points to boost the Jazz to their first 4-0 start since the 2006-07 season.
“I think every night, it’s going to be a different player playing good basketball,” Bogdanovic said. “But at the end of the night, as long as we’re getting the (win), we’re all going to be happy.”
Leading games by as many as 36 points like they did in Houston will go a long way in making them happy, too.
The Bulls, meanwhile, just slipped from the ranks of the undefeated, falling 104-103 against New York.
All-Star Zach LaVine, who had 25 points, enjoyed the challenge.
“It was a good game. It was our first real test and it came down to that last shot,” he said. “We fought back. I just wish we got into it a little sooner where we could take (the) lead.”
DeMar DeRozan misfired on a mid-range jumper at the buzzer to prevent the Bulls from improving to 5-0. LaVine sliced the Knicks’ lead down to one with less than 10 seconds remaining after the Bulls had rallied from down 13 with 2:59 remaining.
LaVine played — and will continue to play — despite having a torn ligament in his left thumb. The star guard said the injury “wasn’t pleasant” to play with, but called it “doable.”
“I’ve just got to find ways to manage it,” he added. “It’s like a Grade 2 ankle sprain. It’s going to take some time.”
The Bulls are down one starter, though, as Patrick Williams sustained a left wrist injury Thursday. He will have surgery to fix torn ligaments, and he might not return in the regular season.
“It’s going to be a challenge; there’s no question about it,” Chicago coach Billy Donovan said. “We’re a little bit smaller at that position. And we’ve played smaller there. … but when you lose a guy like that that can guard a lot of different positions and has got the strength and size to deal with post-up players, like Patrick does, it definitely hurts.”